Insurance can help in a Disaster of any size.
Remember, fair market value is not the same as replacement cost.
Ask your insurance agent about this when setting up your homeowner's
or renter's insurance.
Before a Disaster
►Create an inventory of your personal property, including all model names
and serial numbers. Ask about a rider for special jewelry, antiques or art pieces.
Do not overlook items you use seasonally or infrequently and store
in out-of-the-way places, such as special china and silverware, holiday decorations,
summer and winter sports equipment, carpentry tools, and baby-care furnishings.
► Keep sales receipts and photograph or videotape each room.
Store the inventory information off the premises, such as with a relative
or in a safe deposit box.
Give a copy of all your pictures and records to your Insurance Agent.
► Keep the telephone numbers of your Insurance Agent, your Insurance Company’s local claims office,
and its home office readily at hand.
During a Disaster
Stay safe. The lives of you and your family are your priority.
After a Disaster
► Safety is your top priority.
Make sure the dwelling is safe to stay or to enter if you were not inside.
In a larger disaster, this determination may be made by the authorities.
► When you file a claim, you will want to make sure the insurance company
pays you fairly for any losses of covered property and damaged or destroyed property.
You will need to prove a loss took place and confirm the value of that loss.
Make a preliminary list of damaged or destroyed items and the degree
of damage for the property. Take pictures of the damage.
You can then compare these pictures with the ones you took before the disaster.
► Do not consider your preliminary list a final list.
Chances are you may forget to list some of the items.
As you think of other things, let your insurance agent know.
If you have experienced weather damage to your home or property,
take the following steps:
► Contact your insurance agent or company immediately to report your loss.
The agent will prepare a Notice of Loss form and an adjuster will be assigned
to assist you. Follow the instructions given to you by claims personnel.
Since there may be a lot of people needing help at the same time,
anything you have done before the disaster to prepare for a loss will be to your benefit now.
►Take notes. Start from the beginning and keep a log of the people to whom
you spoke and when.
Summarize your conversation.
Ask questions if you do not understand instructions.
If possible, photograph the outside of the premises, showing the damage.
Then photograph the inside of the premises, showing the damaged property .
► Figure out the extent of the damage.
Separate the damaged from the undamaged property and put it in the best possible order
for the adjuster’s examination.
If possible, protect the property from further damage.
► Wait for the adjuster to arrive!
Do not call anyone to repair or replace your loss without first getting instructions from your adjuster.
Your insurer’s visual inspection of your loss may be necessary before repairs are undertaken.
Do not throw away damaged property until your company’s adjuster advises
you it is all right to do so. If your home is damaged, make only temporary repairs
until a claims adjuster looks at the damage.
Making permanent repairs before the adjuster’s inspection could trigger a denial of your claim.